SOM wins Large Architecture Firm of the Year

Architecture Awards 2012, Westin hotel, Photos by Murrindie Frew/ITP Images

Global giant Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) picked up the prize for Large Architecture Firm of the Year at the Middle East Architect Awards 2012.

This award recognised the firm with more than 100 employees that has made the most significant impact on the GCC region through its work in 2012.

The US-based firm was a clear winner in this category and was described by the judging panel as the undisputed master of the skyscraper and many other building types.

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One judge commented that the company’s endless number of great projects makes it the supreme example of a large architectural firm.

This firm was also described by the jury as an architectural legend that continues to push the envelope in every corner of the globe.

Collecting the award, George Efstathiou, consulting partner for SOM, commented: “It’s another recognition for us. They use us as an example and called us a legend, and showed us as an example of what can be done. It’s a testament to the people that work at SOM and the traditions of quality and services we provide to our clients.

“We’re done with the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, and the Infinity Tower in the Dubai Marina is almost complete. We have several projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, like the conference centre in the King Abdullah Financial District.”

When asked why SOM stood out from the rest of the nominees, he replied: “I think it’s the consistency over long periods of time in terms of quality and work that we do and push the envelope as much as we can.

Efstathiou added: ” We try to do buildings that can be built – it’s not just paper architecture. It’s great designing that service for our clients. Our buildings have the integration of sustainability and engineering, and we are able to keep the best people that we can hire.”

The judges highly commended Woods Bagot for continuing to deliver quality Middle East projects, including International Tower in Abu Dhabi and St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.

SOM won two other awards at the ceremony; William F Baker was lauded as Engineer of the Year while  Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi was honoured as Public Sector, Institutional Project of the Year.

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